MADRID (AFP) – The Spanish tennis federation announced on Sunday that former WTA player Gala Leon Garcia (photo below) will replace Carlos Moya as the country’s Davis Cup captain, becoming the first female coach to hold the position.
Federation president Jose Luis Escanuela had earlier in the day made a plea to Moya to return for a second year as captain despite the five-time winners being relegated from the World Group for the first time in 18 years by a defeat to Brazil last week.
The former world number one declined that offer, citing personal reasons, but did open the door to a return should Spain’s top players return to the competition.
“I thank the president and the board of the Spanish tennis federation for the confidence they have shown in me,” Moya said in a statement.
“I have tried my best and, knowing that and the personal circumstances, my head says no and my heart says yes when the circumstances change.
“In the future if my personal circumstances are different, but above all if the Davis Cup returns to being a real objective for the players then the door is always open on my part.”
Spain had been without 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal and world number seven David Ferrer for both their defeats to Germany earlier in the year and in losing 3-1 in Sao Paulo.
Leon Garcia, 40, played for 14 years on the WTA tour between 1991 and 2004, achieving a career high ranking of 27 in 2000. Her appointment is the latest high profile move towards female coaches in the men’s game after two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray’s decision to hire Amelie Mauresmo in June.